Donald Trump’s former personal physician has alleged that the US President’s lawyer and bodyguard raided his office for medical records shortly after Mr Trump’s inauguration.
Dr Harold Bornstein told NBC News on Wednesday morning (AEST) that Keith Schiller, a former White House aide who previously worked as Mr Trump’s bodyguard, Trump Organisation lawyer Alan Garten and another “large man” turned up unannounced and took the confidential files in February last year.
The incident came two days after Dr Bornstein told The New York Times he had been prescribing the hair growth medicine Propecia for Mr Trump for years.
The New York doctor Dr Bornstein said the incident left him feeling “raped, frightened and sad,” in what he described to NBC as a “raid”.
“They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos,” he said.
Mr Bornstein reported he had not been given a form authorising the release of the records, which is a violation of patient privacy law.
Trump’s doctor Dr. Harold Bornstein, says that in February 2017, Trump's personal bodyguard, a top lawyer spent 30 minutes raiding his office. took all of Trump’s medical records. pic.twitter.com/qJrh2o8Rgi
— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) May 1, 2018
Dr Bornstein came into the public eye in 2016 when he said that Mr Trump would be the healthiest president in history, writing a one-page summary of his medical history that Mr Trump disclosed on US television.
The four paragraph letter described Mr Trump’s health as “astonishingly excellent”.
However, Mr Bornstein told CNN Mr Trump “dictated that whole letter”.
“I didn’t write that letter,” he said.
Michael Zeldin, a former assistant to special counsel Robert Mueller, told CNN that the President should have informed Mr Bornstein that he was changing doctors.
He said Mr Trump needed copies of the medical records to be sent to his new doctor through the proper channels.
“He [Dr Bornstein] may have, under HIPAA or other things, an obligation to retain those files himself,” Mr Zeldin said.
“So, in a sense, it’s sort of a burglary. They just sort of took out this stuff without any sort of legal process that authorised them to do that. And it’s a little bit frightening.”
The White House later confirmed the medical records were taken, but defended the move.
“As is standard operating procedure for a new president, the White House Medical Unit took possession of the President’s medical records,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a media conference.
Ms Sanders disputed that it had the feel of a raid.
A source familiar with the matter was quoted by NBC as saying there was a letter to Dr Bornstein from then-White House doctor Ronny Jackson, but it is unclear if there was a release form attached.
Dr Bornstein added he did not understand why Mr Trump was so angry about the disclosure he was taking Propecia. He also said he occasionally prescribed Mr Trump drugs for rosacea and cholesterol.
“I couldn’t believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important,” Dr Bornstein told NBC.
“And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What’s the matter with that?”